Tracking the Tropics: Beta expected to become hurricane before landfall

Tracking the Tropics

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The hyperactive hurricane season continues with forecasters watching a number of systems in the Atlantic Basin.

Tropical Storm Wilfred, Subtropical Storm Alpha and Tropical Storm Beta formed within hours of each other on Friday. Alpha and Beta are the first Atlantic storms named after Greek letters since 2005.

Meanwhile, Teddy remains a powerful Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic while Tropical Depression 22 churns in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here’s the latest on what we’re tracking in the tropics:

Tropical Storm Beta

Tropical Depression 22, which formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico Thursday night, strengthened to become Tropical Storm Beta on Friday evening. It’s expected to strengthen into a category one hurricane by Sunday afternoon.

The slow-moving storm is about 290 miles east of the mouth of the Rio Grande and 270 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Maximum sustained winds increased to 60 mph by 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. The NHC said additional slow strengthening is expected throughout the weekend.

Beta is creating swells that could impact parts of Texas and the Gulf Coast of Mexico over the weekend, increasing the threat of surf and rip current conditions.

“There is an increasing risk of heavy rainfall and flooding along the northwest Gulf Coast Sunday through at least the middle of next week as Beta is forecast to move slowly toward and along or offshore of the coast through that time,” the NHC said Friday evening.

According to forecasters, it’s still too early to determine exactly what areas could see direct impacts from Beta but they are encouraging people along the western Gulf of Mexico to monitor the system.

Subtropical Storm Alpha

The first letter of the Greek alphabet was claimed Friday afternoon when Subtropical Storm Alpha formed near the coast of Portugal. Alpha is small and expected to dissipate by Saturday, but forecasters said it will bring heavy rain and winds to parts of Portugal.

This is only the second time in history a storm in the Atlantic has been named Alpha.

Tropical Storm Wilfred

Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the eastern tropical Atlantic late Friday morning, claiming the last name on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season storm names list.

As of 5 a.m. ET Saturday, Wilfred is about 885 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

Hurricane Teddy

Teddy is a Category 3 hurricane and is forecast to remain powerful as it moves through the Atlantic over the next few days.

Teddy is creating large swells that are forecast to spread across the western Atlantic, increasing the threat of rip currents in the Lesser Antilles and the northeastern coast of South America Friday morning. The swells are expected to spread westward to the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the east coast of the United States this weekend, forecasters said.

At 5 a.m. ET Saturday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph and was about 605 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving northwest at 14 mph.

“Interest in Bermuda should monitor the progress of Teddy,” forecasters said.

Forecasters said some fluctuations in strength are expected over the next day.

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